Stop for a second and consider how much time per week you spend on managing your inventory and logistics for your online or home-based business. Is it more than ten hours a week? Twenty? Consider that at a full time job, twenty hours a week is considered fifty percent of a work week. If you’re spending twenty hours or more looking after your product inventory and seeing to order fulfillment and mail order fulfillment processing, you’re literally spending half your time seeing only to that one aspect of your business operations.
A Tale of Two Businesses
Sooner or later, many small and home-based business owners find themselves at a particular tipping point that’s in many ways a victim of the business’ success. As a business grows, so grows the amount of inventory it must keep moving through its storage and fulfillment operations.
But when demand for the product – success in reaching customers and obtaining conversion – overwhelms the business’ ability to efficiently satisfy that demand, one of two things can happen. The small business and small business owner can devote increasing amounts of time to meet that demand, draining time and attention away from business growth and development. Alternately, the business lags behind, creating customer conflict issues and potentially damaging its online or community reputation. And in the online sphere, a negative reputation can mean a lingering death for small and even medium sized efforts.
A Solution of Flexibility and Security
The best means of avoiding both scenarios involves enlisting the aid of a third party logistics provider, also called a mail order fulfillment company, to assist in the managing and processing of inventory. Third party logistics providers oversee each step of the sales completion process, from processing the order to preparing for shipment and arranging for postage and mailing. Some fulfillment companies also furnish trained customer service staff that can resolve customer questions and complaints on behalf of the client business. These staff members work from policies directed by the client business.
The Fulfillment Partnership
By signing an agreement with a fulfillment company, small and online businesses enter into a binding relationship that’s mutually beneficial to both parties. The fulfillment company derives its profit from each unit of product processed on behalf of the client company, giving it a powerful incentive to fulfill orders quickly and efficiently. Some fulfillment companies also allow flexibility in their agreements, allowing the client small business room to grow and flourish.